For anyone that loves fairy tales, Disney-esque stories, or just Sondheim’s music, this is a MUST SEE!!!!
Theatre In The Mountains presents INTO THE WOODS
“Into the Woods,” for those not familiar, is a brilliant weaving of several fairy tales into one complex narrative about what it takes to get what you want and the consequences that follow. Act 1 is a light, positive and funny chapter, for lack of a better word, that shows the main characters struggling to make their dreams a reality. From the childless Baker to the poverty stricken Jack, each character wishes that their situations could be fixed. Then, thanks to some magic beans from the Witch’s garden, opportunity strikes. Act 2 is the chapter when the lessons are learned. The songs are a little less jovial, but much more touching and still just as clever.
In this production, director Ian Leonard, has created not just another show, but an experience that is brilliant.
The use of this space and the space around this space and the atmosphere lend themselves fully to the characters who traverse the woods in search of their wishes. The actors stayed in character as they walked from behind the set and into the actual woods around the audience. To watch them as they explored the woods just added that extra layer of complexity. Not only do you get the main focal point of the story which is happening on stage, but you get some of the side story as you watch the actors that are off stage.
The usual way that the show begins is with an older gentleman, known as The Narrator. As I said, that is the usual way. Mr. Leonard changed the dynamic of the story by placing the Narrator position in the hands of a child. The show now becomes a product of imagination rather than a series of events, which I feel draws the audience in even more. It also makes songs like “Witch’s Lament” and “Children Will Listen” that much more moving. Let me tell you, there were several tears to be shed by the end.
But the good things about this show aren’t only the direction and the set, no. They are also the actors themselves. This is one of the strongest casts I’ve seen recently. And that’s including the Faustus cast at the SJRep. But “that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,” yes, the cast was great! The Princes in their smug yet charming demeanor. The feisty little granny who can skin a wolf.
But let’s break this down a little further. Jeremy Goel, as the Narrator made it so believable that this was just him playing with his toys. At first he was wide eyed and excited as he unpacked his backpack with the toy representation of the characters, but later realizing that even in make believe there are consequences.
Alison Koch, as Cinderella, was wonderful! Her voice just soars in that open space and our hearts break with hers as she realizes that her Prince isn’t as charming as she had hoped.
The naive lad, Jack, played by Stefan Montana had line delivery that was perfection. So hopeful, yet so clueless.
Shawn Bender makes you laugh, hope, cry, then hope again in his turn as the Baker. Fantastic role for him!
Cindy Powell, as the Baker’s Wife, has one of my favorite songs in the show “Moments In The Woods.” She added little subtleties in the delivery and facial expressions that I LOVE to see actors do especially if it hasn’t been done by other people.
Speaking of… That leads me to The Witch. She was amazing! Kristen Hermosillo delivers in this role! As I was saying with Ms. Powell, Ms. Hermosillo interpreted her role uniquely as well. My favorite moment of the play, and there were a lot of them, but absolute fave is when she sings “And then bang! Crash! And the lightning flash! And – Well, that’s another story. Never mind – Anyway,” most people I’ve seen sing this song with fear about the flashes and the noise, but it looked like Ms. Hermosillo, was reveling in it. And then she laughed off the never mind, get back to business – anyway. Sheer magic!
Samantha Stidham and Elizabeth McClelland as Florinda and Lucinda were hilarious!! They combine sass, conceit, haughty into a single diva-licious element and work that stage!
Not to be outdone, as the Stepmother, Kimberly Kay is just as haughty and sassy, but add a gallon of conniving and you have the Mutha of all divas! Just watching her get the shoe onto her daughters’ feet is worth the price of the ticket! Just saying!
Then, there is Brett Carlson that pulls double duty as the Wolf and the Steward. I cannot describe this in a way that doesn’t sound weird. But here goes. Ya know how people get sympathy pains or feel empathy for others? Well, his wolf is SO focused on the deliciousness that will be Little Red Riding Hood that my mouth started to water. Think of it was a mind meld. I know I am weird. Then to see him take the Steward into what I think of as an over-exaggeration of an over-exaggeration of himself. It was brilliant! I hope he doesn’t get mad that I say that.
The plucky sarcasm and attitude that is Little Red Riding Hood was not lost by Lisa Meehan. She had the audience laughing throughout the show and cheering for her after “I Know Things Now.”
I could go on with this for the entire cast, but alas the entry would be too long and I would rather you click the link below to get tickets and see for yourself this fantastic show. It only has 3 more performances: Thursday 7/18, Friday 7/19 and Saturday 7/20 all shows begin at 7PM. Get your tickets here: Theatre In The Mountains
Congrats to Jillian Cummings, the cast and staff of Into The Woods!! You have yourself a true gem!
As Stephen Sondheim says: “Opportunity is NOT a lengthy visitor” Get your tickets now. You only have 3 chances to see the show.